The Commandments of Decorating an All-White Room

updated Mar 11, 2020
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(Image credit: Elissa Crowe)

Sticking with all-white in an interior space has a lot of advantages. Light and airy, you’ll be left with bright spaces that feel refreshing and peaceful. Those who rent will find solace in being able to work with can’t-paint white walls. Not having a lot of colors in a space allows the people to become the paint that splashes colorfully on your home’s palette. But creating stunning all-white rooms isn’t as easy as simply leaving out the color. Here are the best 5 “rules” to consider when crafting an all-white (or nearly all-white) room.

1. Focus on texture

If you’re not going to have a lot of visual stimulation with color in your rooms, you’re going to want to fill in that gap with texture. Seek out surfaces like rugs and throw blankets with thick, rough or interesting textures. White-wash textured furniture pieces to add to the room.

2. Mind your surfaces (and know your stains)

Whether you have kids or not, a white room is a magnet for stains. But you shouldn’t avoid an all-white room just because you’re a little on the clumsy side. Just invest in materials that resist stains or are easily cleanable. Upholstery for the outdoors and/or stain guards can be used for upholstered furniture. It’s also smart to know how best to clean your surfaces before you bring them into your space (and before you spill anything). But don’t forget about your white walls, baseboards and window trim — get on a regular cleaning schedule so they don’t end up looking dirty.

  • Taking the Guesswork Out of Stain Removal

3. Consider more stuff

Again, with so little interest in the way of bold hues, you’ve got to add in interest in other ways. Like with texture, as mentioned above. But also with, and this might be a bit controversial to say, stuff. Not necessarily with more stuff, though that can help. No, we’re talking about the art of layering, and how when you’re working predominantly with only a handful of shades of white, you can use layering to create a lot of interest in a room.

  • How to Pull Off the Art of Layering in Interiors

4. Choose the white right

Like any paint color, you’re going to want to really be picky when it comes to the shade of white you use on your walls or or furniture, for the wrong paint color can make a whole room seem dingy or even too sterile. Finding the right white for your space will mean looking to a trusted list of paint colors that others have had success with and then bringing home samples to look at in your space under all light conditions. Start with the suggestions in the comments of this post:

  • Help Me Choose the Right White Paint